Cambridge has much in common with fellow academic powerhouse Oxford: a town centre filled with elegant colleges, busy students and plenty of cafés and pubs to keep them happy. Soak up the architecture and check out AA Milne’s original Winnie The Pooh manuscript in the Wren Library before punting down the River Cam to explore the Backs.Here’s TNT travel editor Amy Adams’ take on the top attractions for your weekend away in Cambridge.
The university is made up of several colleges, many housed in wonderful old buildings centred around neat lawns known as quads. Perhaps the most famous is King’s College, with its gothic masterpiece King’s College Chapel. Head there at 5.30pm on Monday-Saturday (Sunday times vary) to hear the famous choir.
Best of the rest
The best view of King’s College Chapel is from the banks of the River Cam, an area known as the Backs. In summer you’ll find the river teaming with punts – join them by hiring a vessel at Scudamore’s Boatyard (scudamores.com). Or try the latest sport to hit Cambridge: stand-up paddle-boarding (fenpaddle.co.uk). In winter take a brisk walk along the Cam before heading back over one of the many pretty bridges.
If you’re just after a snack, join the queues of students at bakery Fitzbillies – they’re lining up for a reason. For dinner try the Arts Restaurant near the Cambridge Arts Theatre or the Cambridge Chop House. Veggies should head to Rainbow Café.
Try the local tipple
Cambridge has its fair share of trendy bars, but it’s the old man pubs that will win you over. Try the Pickerel Inn where you can sup mulled wine by an open fire, or The Eagle, which has grafitti by World War II pilots.
The Fitzwilliam Museum has a fascinating collection of treasures, from works by Picasso to Egyptian mummies. At Kettle’s Yard, wander the house of former Tate curator Jim Ede, admiring his taste in art, from Miro to Henry Moore.
» Amy Adams travelled with Visit East of England (visiteastofengland.com) and National Express Trains (nationalexpresseastanglia.com), and stayed at Somerset House B&B (107 Milton Rd, 01223 505131).
When to go: At term time for the student buzz, summer to make the most of punting on the Cam and winter to escape the crowds.
Getting there: Catch a train from London Liverpool Street or King’s Cross, which takes 60-90 minutes.
Getting around: You can easily walk the centre of Cambridge, or join the locals who get round by bicycle (you’ve never seen so many cyclists, so keep your wits about you crossing the road). Buses run from the station to the town centre. A taxi is about £5.
Going out: A pint costs about £2.80.
Accommodation: Dorm beds from £13.95 at the YHA (yha.org.uk). Doubles from £20.